Leonard Miller

And-Ones: Expansion, Seattle, Vegas, Draft Assets, Ignite

Is the NBA ready to move forward on its long-rumored plans to expand to Seattle and Las Vegas? Willie G. Ramirez of The Associated Press (Twitter link) says he has heard from multiple sources that the league wants to announce expansion when those two cities hosts preseason games this fall. The Clippers will play in Seattle on September 30 and October 3, while the Lakers are set to play in Vegas on October 5 and 6.

Despite Ramirez’s report, it’s still probably premature to get excited about an impending announcement. Rumors of possible expansion have simmered off and on for years, and the NBA has repeatedly shot them down, indicating that any plans to add more teams are on the back-burner. Still, it seems increasingly likely that expansion is coming sooner or later, with Seattle and Las Vegas atop the league’s list of potential destinations.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As rumors about expansion resurface, Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com considers what an expansion draft might look like if the NBA uses the same rules it did for its last expansion draft (the Bobcats in 2004). Of course, Sidery’s hypothetical expansion draft is based on teams’ current rosters, and any expansion team is unlikely to enter the league for a few years, but it’s still an interesting exercise that shows what kinds of players might go unprotected.
  • Following the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell blockbuster trades, the Jazz have the strongest collection of future draft picks of any NBA team, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), who ranks Utah’s draft assets slightly ahead of the Thunder‘s. The Spurs have the third-best stash of future picks, per Marks. The Pelicans, Rockets, Knicks, Magic, and Pacers round out his top eight, in that order.
  • The G League Ignite have officially announced the additions of Australian prospect Mojave King and Canadian prospect Leonard Miller, confirming the signings today in a press release. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony previously reported that King and Miller would be joining the Ignite.

Draft Decisions: Dieng, Jovic, Besson, Kamagate, L. Miller, More

The players who declared as early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft have until 5:00 pm Eastern time on Monday to decide whether or not to keep their names in this year’s draft pool.

Since the NCAA’s own withdrawal deadline passed earlier this month, today’s deadline doesn’t have a real impact on most college players — if they were going to withdraw, they’ve probably done so already to avoid forgoing their remaining NCAA eligibility. However, today’s deadline is an important one for non-college prospects, including those who are playing in professional leagues in Europe and around the world.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has provided a series of updates on top international prospects who are finalizing their early entry decisions today. Let’s round them up…

(Note: The country listed for each prospect is where he has been playing, not necessarily where he’s from.)

Staying in the draft:

Dieng, the No. 12 player on ESPN’s big board, and Jovic, ESPN’s No. 24 prospect, are considered good bets to be first-round picks, so it comes as no surprise that they’ll remain in the draft. The other players in this list may not be first-rounders, but most of them have a good chance to be drafted.

Besson comes in at No. 38 on ESPN’s board, while Kamagate is No. 40. Procida is the 52nd on player on ESPN’s list, but has received “strong reviews” during the pre-draft process, according to Givony.

Samar, the No. 61 player on ESPN’s board, has also gained traction recently due to his strong workouts for teams and the fact that his NBA buyout is flexible and inexpensive, making him an appealing draft-and-stash option, Givony explains.

Santos is the No. 76 player on ESPN’s top 100.

Withdrawing from the draft:

Miller, the No. 43 prospect on ESPN’s big board for 2022, will sign with the G League Ignite, he tells Givony.

“My decision to withdraw from this year’s draft is based on what’s best for my long-term development,” Miller said. “With another year of development both on and off the court, I will put myself in an even better position for the 2023 draft. Going through the pre-draft process, I learned about what it takes to be a successful professional. Whether it’s the daily on-court work, off-court work, diet, or recovery, I have gained a much greater understanding of the habits it takes to get to the top of this field.”

Givony is bullish on Miller’s chances of boosting his draft stock for next year, tweeting that the young forward will likely be a top-20 pick in ESPN’s next 2023 mock draft.

Matkovic was the No. 60 prospect on ESPN’s board, while Ivisic was No. 63, which made them borderline candidates to be drafted. Strazel was unranked.

A total of 37 international prospects declared for the draft as early entrants and typically no more than about 10 or 15 of those players keep their names in the pool. In other words, it’s a safe bet that many more players on our list of international early entrants will withdraw by today’s deadline, even if it those decisions aren’t reported immediately.

Leonard Miller, Ryan Rollins Turning Pro

Canada’s Leonard Miller will forgo his college eligibility and turn pro, he told Joe Tipton of On3.com. The 6-foot-11 forward is considered a raw prospect at just 18 years old, but he’s No. 44 on ESPN’s big board and projected to be the No. 41 pick of the 2022 NBA draft in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft for ESPN (Insider link).

As Tipton notes, Miller has until June 13 to decide whether he wants to remain in the draft, which is the NBA’s withdrawal deadline, but he’ll be playing for a professional organization next season no matter what he decides at that point.

My lifelong dream has been to play basketball at the highest level, and I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of amazing people in my life that have helped me pursue that dream.

After getting feedback from going through the NBA Draft process up to this point, I have decided to take the next step in that journey and move forward in the professional process,” Miller said.

In other draft-related news, Toledo’s Ryan Rollins will keep his name in the draft, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The news isn’t surprising, as Rollins was expected to remain in the draft. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 18.9 points, 6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals on .468/.311/.802 shooting as a sophomore for the Rockets in 2021/22.

Like Miller, Rollins is a projected second-round pick. He’s No. 37 on ESPN’s big board and the No. 43 pick in Givony’s mock draft.

Draft Rumors: Top Two Picks, Daniels, Nembhard, Matkovic, More

Magic executives have made it clear they’ll do their homework on all their options for the No. 1 pick, even beyond Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link).

However, most NBA teams believe that process will be a formality and consider Smith to be the clear favorite to become the Magic’s pick, according to Givony. NBA executives also overwhelmingly view Holmgren as the probable No. 2 pick for the Thunder, Givony adds.

Givony and his fellow ESPN draft expert Mike Schmitz shared several more tidbits based on their conversations with talent evaluators at last week’s combine in Chicago. Let’s round up a few highlights…

  • NBA teams were “buzzing” about Dyson Daniels‘ performance in Chicago at his Pro Day, comparing him to NBA players like Tyrese Haliburton and Khris Middleton, according to Givony, who has moved the G League Ignite wing up to No. 6 on ESPN’s big board.
  • Andrew Nembhard‘s willingness to play through a minor quad injury and his strong performance in the second game of the combine scrimmages helped boost his stock. The Gonzaga guard “leapfrogged” a handful of players who sat out the scrimmages and has a legitimate shot to be drafted near the end of the first round, says Givony.
  • Croatian big man Karlo Matkovic was one of the under-the-radar risers as a result of his combine showing. He’s considered far more likely to be drafted than he was a week ago, and his agency says he’s had more requests for private workouts than he has available dates, per Givony.
  • Mark Williams‘ 9’9″ standing reach will make him the longest player in the NBA, according to Schmitz, who says the Duke center has a chance to be selected ahead of Jalen Duren in the lottery.
  • Canadian prospect Leonard Miller looked a step slow during the combine scrimmages and now appears more likely to attend college at Arizona or join the G League Ignite rather than staying in the draft, writes Givony.

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Draft Notes: Banchero, Gueye, Minott, L. Miller

LIFT Sports Management, operated by former NBA player Mike Miller, landed its biggest client so far when Duke’s Paolo Banchero signed with the agency on Saturday, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. LIFT released a short video announcing the move and welcoming Banchero to its team (Twitter link).

Banchero was one of the top players in college basketball this season, being named ACC Rookie of the Year and earning second-team All-American honors. He is projected as a top four pick in next month’s draft and is rated as the No. 2 prospect on ESPN’s big board.

Miller launched the agency last year after spending two years as an assistant at the University of Memphis. According to RealGM, he has six other clients who are eligible for this year’s draft.

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

  • Washington State’s Mouhamed Gueye has been invited to participate in the NBA G League Elite Camp, according to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). The freshman center averaged 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Cougars this season.
  • Josh Minott of Memphis has been impressive in his early workouts for a few Eastern Conference teams, tweets Adam Zagoria. He averaged 6.6 and 3.8 rebounds as a freshman with the Tigers.
  • Canadian high school prospect Leonard Miller has been ruled eligible for the draft, tweets Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Paperwork issues prevented him from being included on the official early entries list, but those problems have been resolved.
  • Woo has released a new list of top 100 prospects, which has Auburn’s Jabari Smith at No. 1. Woo calls Smith “the best pure freshman jump shooter to enter the draft in years” and “a legit No. 1 pick candidate in most drafts.” Rounding out his top five are Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Banchero, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe.

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2022 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 283 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 247 are from colleges, while 36 are international early entrants.

Those are big numbers, but they fall well short of the 353 early entrants who initially declared for the draft a year ago. Beginning in 2021, the NCAA granted players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

That tweak to the NCAA’s eligibility rules has increased the number of total early entrants due to the influx of seniors into the pool. However, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the number of college non-seniors (123) on the initial early entry list this year is actually the lowest since 2016, while the number of international prospects (36) is the lowest since 2014.

This year’s total of 283 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by June 1 and again by June 13, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 58, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2022 draft is fully up to date and can be found right here.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players either didn’t publicly announce that they were entering the draft or we simply missed it when they did.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.

Other notable draft-eligible early entrants:

The NBA sent its teams a list of 33 “also-eligible” names. That list isn’t public, but Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) shared some of the most notable players on it, and we’ve added them to our early entrant tracker. They are as follows:

  1. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite
  2. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite
  3. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
  4. Henri Drell, G/F, Windy City Bulls
  5. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite
  6. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite
  7. Makur Maker, C, Sydney Kings (formerly Howard Bison)
  8. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite
  9. Samson Ruzhentsev, G/F, Mega Basket (formerly Florida Gators)
  10. Kai Sotto, C, Adelaide 36ers (formerly G League Ignite)
  11. Zaire Wade, G, Salt Lake City Stars
  12. Kok Yat, F, Overtime Elite
  13. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite

Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have had no NCAA eligibility remaining, making them automatically draft-eligible; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list, at least for the time being.

Finally, Givony reports (via Twitter) that Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy has been asked to fill out additional paperwork to finalize his entrance into the draft pool. According to Givony, there’s an expectation that Miller will be added to the list, so we’ve left him listed in our early entrant tracker among the international players.

Draft Notes: Braun, Wilson, Diop, Santos, Edey, Pack, Miller

After winning a national championship with the Jayhawks this season, Kansas junior shooting guard Christian Braun is entering his name in the 2022 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Ranked as the No. 30 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, Braun took a major step forward in his third college season, averaging 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG on .495/.386/.733 shooting in 40 games (34.4 MPG). He also played a big role in this month’s title game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to help Kansas secure the victory.

“It is hard to follow a season where you win every championship that’s in front of you, but I’m excited to explore the options in front of me and enjoy this process,” Braun told ESPN. “I’ve worked my whole life to show the NBA who I am and what I’m about, so I will continue to put my head down and work to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA.”

Meanwhile, Braun’s teammate Jalen Wilson will once again test the waters, according to Andrew Joseph of USA Today (Twitter link), who notes that the 6’8″ forward has signed with an NCAA-certified agency. A redshirt sophomore, Wilson first tested the draft waters in 2021.

Here are a few more draft-related updates as the early entrant deadline nears:

  • Senegalese center Khalifa Diop, who currently plays for Gran Canaria in Spain, is entering the draft, per Global Scouting (Twitter link). Diop is the No. 40 prospect on ESPN’s board.
  • Brazilian forward Gui Santos, the No. 84 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, has declared for the draft, according to a Super Esportes report. Santos has been playing for Minas in the Brazilian league.
  • Purdue big man Zach Edey, the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s board, has announced (via Instagram) that he’ll remain with the Boilermakers for his junior year.
  • After entering the transfer portal while testing the draft waters, Kansas State’s Nijel Pack has committed to Miami, he announced on Saturday (Twitter link). Having secured a lucrative NIL deal, Pack appears committed to playing at least one more college season rather than keeping his name in the draft.
  • Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy, is entering the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Givony notes that Miller made an impression at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this month.